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No one figured that, when it was announced that the “Hellboy” franchise was being rebooted, that it might turn into a key moment in the history of Hollywood, race and casting. Most people were just initially annoyed that Guillermo Del Toro wasn’t going to get to close his trilogy up. But then “Game Of Thrones” and “Deadpool” actor Ed Skrein was announced as playing a character called Major Ben Daimio, a Marine who can turn into a jaguar, and things went briefly ballistic.
You see, the character is Japanese-American in Mike Mignola’s comics, and an immediate backlash formed as the latest example of the whitewashing of Asian roles in major movies, which of late has been criticized in films as diverse (from each other, not in the racial make-up of the casting obviously) as “The Martian,” “Aloha” and “Ghost In The Shell.” But then, to his credit, Skrein, who claims not to have been aware that the character was originally Asian when he signed on, announced he was stepping down so the role could be played by an actor of the right ethnicity.
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